Belmont Stakes Diaries With Lindsy Reed: Rich Strike Ready to ‘Run Them Off Their Feet’

Belmont Stakes Diaries With Lindsy Reed: Rich Strike Ready to ‘Run Them Off Their Feet’

Lindsy Reed is very much part of the team that produced one of the great upsets in racing history, 80.80-1 Rich Strike’s emergence in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve. Trainer Eric Reed is assisted by his wife, Kay, and Lindsy, their daughter.

The family operates Mercury Equine Center in Lexington, Ky. The facility features 160 stalls, a five-eighths of a mile training track and an equine pool.

Lindsy, 26, is so committed to the 60-acre farm that she moved there after a December 2016 fire, believed to be caused by a lightning strike, killed 23 horses and destroyed one of three barns.

Former $30,000 claimer Rich Strike – better known around the barn as “Richie” – will attempt to show he was no one-race wonder in the June 11 Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets at Belmont Park. Lindsy is taking followers of America’s Best Racing along for the ride in a diary written with Tom Pedulla.

I am the first to admit I was as shocked as everyone else when Richie won the Kentucky Derby. I will not be at all shocked if he wins the Belmont. I expect him to.

He has done really well since the Derby, a race that did not take a lot out of him. He did not look at all like a horse that had given a huge effort to win the biggest race of his life. Most of the other horses in the field were hot and sweaty and blowing and blowing. He was not blowing at all. He was like, ‘Are we done? I want some more.’

Physically, we believe he could have handled the two weeks between the Derby and the Preakness. But we did not like the Preakness distance and my dad believed it would have been too much mentally.

My dad taught me long ago that you have to recognize that the mental side is at least as important as what is happening physically, maybe more so. Ask a horse to do more than he is ready to do and he can sour on you very quickly and you may never get him back to form. We work with the horse. We don’t make him work with us. He dictates everything we do.

My dad can look at a horse and read their mind. Horses talk to him and he listens. Richie has been telling us for a long time that he is crying out for distance. For that reason, we did not want to do anything that might have hurt his chances in the mile-and-a-half Belmont. Most horses cannot handle that much ground. He will love it.

My dad decided to do most of the preparations for the Belmont at Churchill Downs to take advantage of a track he really enjoys. Richie showed how much he has matured during this time with two sharp works. He went four furlongs in 47.20 seconds on May 21 and followed that with a bullet five-furlong work in 59 [seconds] flat on May 30.

They were absolutely what my dad wanted to see. They were Richie telling us, ‘I’m ready, guys. Let’s do this!’

We are as hands-on as we can be with all of our horses. My dad and the groom rode overnight in the van from Churchill to Belmont Park. Richie handled the travel well and adjusted well to his new surroundings. He is floating over the track in his morning gallops. He is even getting along with his pony, something he did not do after the Derby!

My dad and Sonny Leon, our jockey, will not try to change anything about Richie’s style to suit the Belmont distance. He is not a speed horse. He likes to take his time, settle off the pace, and then make his run. Believe me, the Derby was no fluke. The stamina this horse has is unbelievable. When everyone else is getting tired, he will just be kicking into gear.

This time, I have no doubt. Richie will run them off their feet in the Belmont!